Antisemitism and the fight against it

Abram Leon The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation (pbk, 5 August 2019)

Tracks the historical rationalizations of antisemitism to the fact that, in the centuries preceding the domination of industrial capitalism, Jews emerged as a “people-class” of merchants, moneylenders, and traders. Leon explains why the propertied rulers incite renewed Jew-hatred in the epoch of capitalism’s decline.

Robert S Wistrich Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (hbk, 1 August 1992)

Provides a country-by-country look at antisemitism from its pagan beginnings to its recent re-emergence in Europe

Bad News for Labour: Antisemitism, the Party and Public Belief

There has been an extraordinary media output on the issue of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party and antisemitism. Accusations about the Labour Party have made headlines on a daily basis. In the three years after Corbyn became leader there were over five thousand news stories and articles in the national press alone.

Bad News for Labour examines the impact of this coverage on public beliefs about the Party. It replaces media hype with the rigorous analysis of evidence. The authors draw on carefully compiled research to reveal surprising findings in this guide to the reality behind the headlines.

The best UK history of Hitler fascism: Richard J Evans’ trilogy:-

The Coming of the Third Reich: How the Nazis Destroyed Democracy and Seized Power in Germany

The Third Reich at War: How the Nazis Led Germany from Conquest to Disaster

The Third Reich in Power, 1933 – 1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation

A briefing document on the IHRA definition of antisemitism – Jewish Voice for Labour

Alain Brossat & Sylvia Klingberg Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism (pbk, 7 November 2017)

Jewish radicals manned the barricades on the avenues of Petrograd and the alleys of the Warsaw ghetto; they were in the vanguard of those resisting Franco and the Nazis. They originated in Yiddishland, a vast expanse of Eastern Europe that, before the Holocaust, ran from the Baltic Sea to the western edge of Russia and incorporated hundreds of Jewish communities with a combined population of some 11 million people.

Within this territory, revolutionaries arose from the Jewish misery of Eastern and Central Europe. They were raised in the fear of God and taught to respect religious tradition, but were caught up in the great current of revolutionary utopian thinking. Socialists, Communists, Bundists, Zionists, Trotskyists, manual workers and intellectuals, they embodied the multifarious activity and radicalism of a Jewish working class that glimpsed the Messiah in the folds of the red flag.

Today, the world from which they came has disappeared, dismantled and destroyed by the Nazi genocide. After this irreparable break, there remain only survivors, and the work of memory for red Yiddishland.

This book traces the struggles of these militants, their singular trajectories, their oscillation between great hope and doubt, their lost illusions: a red and Jewish gaze on the history of the twentieth century.

Eric Brothers The Berlin Ghetto: Herbert Baum and the Anti-fascist Resistance (hbk, 1 August 2012)

Berlin Ghetto tells the story of a group of young working class Jewish people who had lives filled with intellectual exploration, intense friendships and romances, and dangerous and illegal political action during one of the most antisemitic and repressive regimes in history.

The roots of anti-fascism in the Communist, Socialist and Jewish youth movements of pre-Nazi working class Berlin are examined in Berlin Ghetto. The complete story of Herbert Baum and Jewish anti-fascism is told through oral and written testimony of survivors, friends and relatives of group members, Nazi trial documents or group members and primary documents of the period.

Everything fell apart for the group in May of 1942, when Baum and a few others went into the massive anti-Soviet and antisemitic Nazi propaganda exhibition Das Sowjet-Paradies (Soviet Paradise) and set off several small explosive devices.

Unfortunately, a comrade of Baum’s was interrogated by the Gestapo and under torture gave them a list of names of many people associated with Herbert Baum. One by one, people were arrested, put on trial and executed or sent to death camps. Berlin Ghetto is a testament to Jewish anti-fascist resistance in Nazi Germany.

Kevin Marsh and Robert Griffiths  Granite and Honey: The Story of Phil Piratin, Communist MP (pbk, 16 November 2012)

This book tells the story of Phil Piratin, elected Communist MP for Stepney Mile End in the post-war General Election that swept Labour to office on a radical manifesto. The book relates role that Piratin played in the 1936 Battle of Cable Street against the fascist Blackshirts. For the first time in print, it shows how he sent a mole into the British Union of Fascists on that day who provided Piratin with invaluable information.

The book also recounts Piratin’s tenacity as the MP who helped expose numerous colonial massacres, including the infamous Batang Kali case in Malaya. Piratin also tabled a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament which prefigured the vital health and safety at work legislation of future decades.

Granite and Honey provides unequalled coverage of these and other significant episodes in 20th century world, British and labour movement history. This book is the second in a new Manifesto Press series of Labour Lives and has been produced with the support of trade union lawyers O.H. Parsons who serve Britain’s labour movement.

Leon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 1: From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews: v. 1 (pbk, 15 October 2003)

Covering the story of prejudice against Jews from the time of Christ to the rise of Nazi Germany, The History of Anti-Semitism presents in elegant and thoughtful language a balanced, careful assessment of this human failing that is almost

From the Time of Christ to the Court Jews systematically traces the twists and turns of hatred against Jews as it developed from Roman times to the end of the eighteenth century. Chiefly the history of prejudice against the Ashkenazi Jews, this volume demonstrates that organized antisemitism was unknown until the First Crusade, an event that marked the beginning of systematic genocide and mass expulsions in Europe. Jews were accused of countless crimes, from causing the Black Death to practising ritual murder, and the author attempts throughout to reveal the sociological and psychological forces behind these irrational charges.

Leon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 2: From Mohammed to the Marranos: v. 2 (pbk, 5 October 2003)

Leon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 3: From Voltaire to Wagner: v. 3 (pbk, 5 October 2003)

From Voltaire to Wagner reviews the period of the European Enlightenment in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when anti-Semitism gradually stopped being an official state policy in most countries. Highlighting the emancipation of Jews as it spread across Europe, Poliakov shows how philosophers, statesmen, and some theologians became concerned with civil rights, yet the anti-Semitic beliefs of many highly regarded and influential persons remained a major roadblock to true equality and justice. The volume ends with the development of racial anti-Semitic theories bound up in the emerging modern sciences.

Leon Poliakov The History of Anti-Semitism, Volume 4: Suicidal Europe, 1870-1933: v. 4 (pbk, 5 October 2003)

Suicidal Europe 1870-1933 traces the development of a belief among Europe’s educated classes in Jewish domination of the West. Revealing the embedded myths about Jewish bankers and Jewish Bolsheviks in European rhetoric and histories, the author demonstrates that the steady rise in antisemitism and suspicion of Jews in the late nineteenth century – highlighted by the Dreyfus affair – and its eventual eruption in the rise of the Nazi party in Germany in the 1920s are part of the same thread of fear and hatred that reaches back to the beginning of the first millennium.

Jews, Marxism and the Worker’s Movement

A collection of basic Marxist texts on Jewish issues as well as materials from and about: the Jewish labor, socialist, and communist movements, Jews in the New Left, Bundism, Socialist Zionism and left-wing writings on antisemitism.

Joe Jacobs Out of the Ghetto: My Youth in the East End, Communism and Fascism, 1913-39 (pbk, 1 January 1991)

Superb autobiography of an East End Jewish working class militant’s life during the General Strike, Great Depression and above all, the fight against Mosley’s Fascists.

Nathaniel Flakin Martin Monath: A Jewish Resistance Fighter Among Nazi Soldiers [Revolutionary Lives] (hbk, 20 October 2019)

A dramatisation of Martin Monath’s short life (1913-1944) would need little artistic embellishment. Hiis identity shrouded in mystery and executed by the Gestapo –twice -– the historical record reads like a detective novel.

Pieced together for the first time by Wladek Flakin, this biography tells the story of the Jewish revolutionary and editor of Arbeiter und Soldat (‘Worker and Soldier’), and his efforts to turn German rank-and-file soldiers against their Nazi officers in occupied France.

Born in Berlin in 1913, Monath was a child of war and revolution. In the 1930s he became a leader of the socialist Zionist youth organisation Hashomer Hatzair in Germany.

Fleeing from Berlin to Brussels in 1939, he joined the underground Trotskyist party led by Abraham Leon, and soon became a leading member of the Fourth International in Europe.

His relocation to Paris in 1943 saw the birth of Arbeiter und Soldat and his work organising illegal cells of German soldiers for a revolutionary struggle against the Nazis.

Drawing on extensive archival research, Flakin uses letters, testimonies and unpublished documents to bring Monath’s story to life, weaving a tale rich with conviction and betrayal, ideology and espionage.

Norman Cohn Warrant for Genocide: the Myth of the Jewish World-Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Norman Cohn explores the origins of one of the most pernicious forgeries ever created, the supposed ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, a manuscript purporting to detail a Jewish conspiracy to control the world & once the most published text after the Bible.


Labour should ditch the IHRA working definition of antisemitism altogether
A briefing document on the IHRA definition of antisemitism – Jewish Voice for Labour

Phil Piratin Our Flag Stays Red

Our Flag Stays Red is an important account of communist and anti-fascist activity in London’s East End in the 1930s and 1940s. Its author was Communist MP for Stepney from 1945 to 1950, and played a leading role in the events described in the book – which are an important part of twentieth-century working-class history.

Ralph Glasser Growing Up in the Gorbals: the Ralph Glasser Omnibus (pbk, 8 March 2006)

Growing Up in the Gorbals describes Ralph Glasser’s impoverished childhood and adolescence in Glasgow’s slum tenements. Gorbals Boy at Oxford takes him, with a scholarship, to Oxford; into the army; and back to wartime Oxford. With Gorbals Voices, Siren Songs, Ralph Glasser concluded his brilliant autobiographical sequence: venturing in to the perplexing, wayward world of postwar London.

Robin Blick Fascism in Germany – How Hitler Destroyed the World’s Most Powerful Labour Movement

Source: Published in two volumes in 1975 by Steyne Publications under the pseudonym Robert Black. Mostly well-researched history, but also a Trotskyist polemic against the sectarianism of the Workers Revolutionary Party.

Transcribed by Ted Crawford and Paul Flewers and prepared by Paul Flewers for the Marxist Internet Archive.